MICHAEL FAFERA is seeking to put a nightmare two years of injury behind him and make his long-awaited ring return in the spring.

Fafera suffered an ACL injury while playing football in December 2019, just a month after his points victory over Latvian Raimonds Sniedze, which took his record to five wins from as many professional fights.

The light-heavyweight initially opted to not have an operation and his recovery seemed to be progressing well until a sparring session in the summer of last year.

A recurrence of the same injury led Fafera to pursing surgery on the injury and his operation went ahead successfully in August this year.

Now, the York fighter is eyeing up a return to the ring in March which will finally end a cruel series of delays to his fledgling career.

"I went and played football like an idiot and snapped my ACL, the main ligament in my knee," Fafera explained of the initial blow. "I tried going through physio without having the operation.

"I thought that it had gone back to normal and things started feeling okay again.

"Then I started sparring, it was all going well, and then during one of my spars, I threw a jab and as I stepped into the shot, my knee just went again.

"I went back to the doctor and they said that this would just keep on happening and recommended that I have a full knee reconstruction operation.

"I either had to get that done or quit boxing. So that's what I ended up having done in August.

"Now I'm just working my way back up (to full fitness). I've got a fight date for March 18, so that's what I'm working towards.

"I'll see how things go, of course, but that's my goal to work towards."

As for any sportsperson recovering from such a damaging injury, their mental fortitude is tested as much as their physical resilience.

On his ACL operation, Fafera admitted: "It was horrible, to be honest. I could barely walk for weeks afterwards and it just made everyday life stuff really tough.

"But I started with physio straight away and I'm slowly working my way back to where I should be.

"I'm pretty strong-minded and I believe that any fighter or athlete will have to go through something like this at some point in their career.

"When you train every day, you're bound to get injuries. It's about how you cope with it really."

"I went for my first 5km run since the operation the other day and it went okay. I'm being careful still and am trying not to rush it. I'm doing whatever the physio allows me to do and no more."

Having been out of the ring for over two years, Fafera is keen to push on as quickly as possible with his professional career once fully recovered.

"The mindset that I've got now is that I don't want to waste any more time," he insisted.

"I want to get back in the ring in March, have a couple of warm-up fights, then see who is above me in the rankings and go in there (against them).

"I don't want to be messing about fighting journeymen. I want to go up (the rankings) and see where I get to.

"I can't wait to get back in the ring. I'm praying that this is it and there's no more injury setbacks. I believe that if I stay positive, positive things will happen."